[Coral-List] damage to live coral from NCL in southern Belize
lisas at btl.net
Fri Mar 27 11:26:00 EDT 2015
Norwegian Cruise lines has purchased Harvest Caye in southern Belize and has begun their development for a cruise ship port.
The Government of Belize is being taken to court by the National Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) for violating/ignoring existing laws under the Environmental Protection and specifically as it relates to the EIA process.
Omissions like not specifying where the spoil from massive dredging will be/is/being dumped, never surveying the affected sites prior to dredging, declaring the reef in the area 'degraded' (not so, no data). The EIA also does not address the ships' arrivals, and those associated impacts, including the ecological and soci-economical impacts of 1000's of visitors on the nearby marine & terrestrial sites/tours.
However, it was approved, and this week the silt curtains were shown to be ineffective on the west side (seagrass, manatee habitat), a violation of the ECP (Env. Compliance Plan) and large boulders were thrown onto live corals on the east side, in what may be the start of their planned artificial beach. This is illegal in Belize.
The appropriate govt agency has been alerted and has issued a press release saying due to legal reasons they cannot release any details yet, but off the record NCL has declared they will simply pay any fines, and move any corals out of the way.
Relocating corals is not in the EIA, not has there been a proper assessment to even suggest this is feasible: some of the S. siderea are in excess of 12ft in diameter, healthy and very old. Also newly established colonies of A. cervicornis have been identified. The older healthy colonies and the newly established ones indicate this is NOT a degraded reef site.
In light of the recent news on the Port of Miami fiasco, I personally feel it is irresponsible to suggest relocating corals to allow for an artificial beach. Especially in light of the fact that no appropriate reef surveys have been conducted (# of species, # and size of colonies, potential relocation methods & sites).
NCL is scheduled to begin bringing cruise ships here as early as this October, also making this suggestion (to relocate corals) unfeasible.
I write the list to bring international attention to this issue, since I do not think we are allowed to post pictures, here are a few links to websites, Social media, and a last night's news coverage. We would appreciate help in getting this into the international media.
Please spread the word as at least two court cases are pending already over this development.
Thanks in advance,
Fragments of Hope, Ltd.
Stann Creek District
tel: (501) 623-6122
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